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Photo by Paul Buchanan
CMHS cross country star shines bright at state championships

For the second year in a row, Chiefland Middle High School’s Lauren Jones competed in the Class 1A girls’ Florida High School Cross Country State Championships in Tallahassee.

In her second trip, Nov. 11, she shaved 1 minute, 48 seconds off her time in the 5K, moving up 52 places to come in at No. 14 in the state in her class.

Jones notched a time of 19:46.17, just 15 seconds off pace from earning her a medal, which go to the top 10 individual finishers. It was a personal record for the rising star.

The achievement is all the more remarkable for the fact that Jones, an eighth-grader, is not even in high school yet, and has only been seriously competing in cross country for a couple of years.

Jones said she was able to estimate where she stood among the pack at different points of the race. Her father displayed a dry-erase board that showed how many seconds she was off pace of the runners in front of her.

“I knew I could shave off that much because of my times this season, and I wasn’t hurt going in like I was last season,” Jones said. “I just had to push myself.